SentencedToBurn
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Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:55 am
Location: New Zealand

Rockmelon pollination

Hi everyone

Long time lurker, first time poster. Doesnt seem that I can find my answer so figured it's best to ask.

A few months ago I had some empty space on my aquaponics beds and after being suggested by my daughter to plant some seeds out of a rockmelon we bought at the shop I decided to give it a go. I normally only grow peppers (and lettuce to suck up the nitrates from my aquaponics system) so I'm in an unfamiliar area with the rock melon. From my limited experience growing water melons and pumpkins a few years back is that the male flowers don't have a round thing at the base, and female flowers do. Hand pollination is then pretty straight forward. In my case however I seem to only be able to find female flowers (I think they are female flowers) - so I can't artificially pollinate them, and the flowers are falling off since they havent tied up.

Current conditions:
Growing method: aquaponics
Temperature: 15C night - 25-35C day
Humidity: 50%-85%
Medium: river stone
Water pH: 7.2
NO2: 0ppm
NO3: 30ppm
KH: 60ppm
GH: 150ppm

My question is - do rockmelon (and sorry I have no idea what type of a rockmelon it is) flowers differ in shape between male and female flowers? Or is there a deficiency of some sort that can promote only one type of flowers to grow? I have two plants but all flowers seem to be the same.

My limitation is that given that this is aquaponics I can't use any conventional fertilisers as it'll more than likely kill the crayfish that's in the tank that's being used to feed the plants. So I have to resort to organic methods to try and ensure the plants have the right nutrients.

I didn't have much hope for these plants when I planted them but since they are actually flowering I figured I might as well investigate to see if I can actually get some fruit to grow.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Pics below.

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Rockmelon pollination

It looks like they only recently started to bloom, and these look like male blossoms to me. It's typical for most cucurbits to start with male blossoms only, then after about a week to 10 days, female blossoms will join the party. Sometimes, I hear it's the other way around, but so far in my experience, it's always been males first. My personal theory is that the males blossoms attract the local pollinators so that by the time the female blossoms appear, they are routinely visiting the male blossoms and will happily pollinate the female blossoms. 8)

I also should mention, though, that since your seed came from store-bought melon, it's possible thes are F2 generation of a hybrid. The original parents could have been one of those all female with a a separate packet of male pollinator seeds, etc. cultivar, or other combinations that results in throwbacks with undesirable traits.
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SentencedToBurn
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:55 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Rockmelon pollination

Hey thanks very much for your reply Applestar. The problem with local pollinators is that its winter here (about to start) which is why I'm looking at hand pollinating these. Good point about store bought fruit - I have always grown my peppers from seeds bought off reputable traders or using my own stock, but with store bought fruit I forgot that some do sell ones that aren't fertile.

I'll give it another few weeks and will keep an eye out for different looking flowers, they both seem to be growing pretty well so hopefully more flowers will follow.

SentencedToBurn
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:55 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Rockmelon pollination

I think I can see a female flower (looks different as it's got a yellow round bit rather than green) so will keep an eye on it. It's right in the middle of that new sprout on the left.

There are a few more similar flowers just starting out but this one is the biggest one.

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